Most people think a stay-at-home parent lives the life of luxury with no job, no boss, and no workplace stress. However, taking care of household chores and kids 24/7 can lead to burnout. Here’s seven things that happens to a stay-at-home parents, and seven ideas on what could help:
Here are some negative things that could happen to a stay-at-home parent:
- You actually work 247 – You may feel over-responsible or overwhelmed – as if it all falls on you. Even if your spouse is the world’s best team-mate, there will be times you feel super-stressed trying to keep up with all the mundane and the details while raising kids.
- Your world becomes smaller – You’re never alone — with young children, you might find yourself unable to even go to the bathroom by yourself. It’s easy to unconsciously go into a bubble and isolate yourself as well as your kids from the outside world.
- You might miss professional interactions – You may miss the social interaction you had with your co-workers, the satisfaction of doing a good job, earning your own money, and even commuting to work, and getting dressed up for work. Your social circle might be reduced to only those other moms.
- You feel dependent – Being reduced to a single-income can contribute additional stresses even though it is by choice. The power dynamics of the relationship might shift and result in being taken for granted.
- You cannot control everything – Kids have their days too – they can be more than a handful with whining, fighting, and tantrums.
- You might become uninspired – Always being at home can sometimes feel like you’re trapped. Your days will be planned out so well that you can easily feel like you’re in a rut.
- Your career is on standstill – You might feel you have put a halt on climbing up the corporate ladder, and know if you do go back to work, you’d be competing with people much younger than you with more recent experience for the same position.
What can be done:
- All work and no play – Me-time is important to any parent. Your mental and physical health depends on getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and just plain relaxing. Schedule that time in. Even with your kids, you need to set some personal boundaries. It is okay to establish limits.
- Find meaning – Build and maintain connections both with other parents and with people who share your hobbies, professional, and community interests. You can get satisfaction and connect with other adults by volunteering at your kids’ school or with community organizations.
- Part-time work – You may also be able to earn an income through a part-time work-at-home, online or freelance job. If you have writing, designing or crafting skills, you may be able to sell your work.
- Delegate – You don’t have to do it all. You could trade babysitting with other parents, accept help from relatives, or hire out some chores such as housecleaning every couple of weeks. You can also delegate some of the tasks to your kids, and teach them life skills and responsibility if they help with laundry, cleaning, and cooking.
- Budget – Writing and sticking to a family budget can help keep you on track, reduce your stress, and make economic choices easier. You can involve your kids in couponing and find deals, imparting valuable skills for when they leave home.
- Breathe – When you are feeling stressed, use stress-management practices such as breathing exercises, quiet time, or meditation. You can also teach these to your children so they learn to manage their stress.
- Review your resume – Take time to think about what you like to do to cover your employment gap. You can strategically then do volunteer work and pursue freelance work with a end-goal in mind.
Let me know what you think of this piece. What do you think I should have included? What else do you think would be useful?
About Dr. Martha Tara Lee
Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.
She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than nine years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.
Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She is the host of weekly radio show Eros Evolution on the OMTimes Radio Network. She has published three books: Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, Orgasmic Yoga and From Princess to Queen.
Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.